If I was allowed only 10 fragrances to take to the desert island, Sikkim (the collections launch) would make the cut. A beautiful, understated chypre of a calibre all too rare nowadays. One cannot imagine a perfume of such quality and individuality being launched now in these commercially ruthless times. That is not to say that Sikkim is not eminently wearable because it is and unisex wearable at that. Soft, well-rounded, nothing spiky or sharp; a well integrated leather note produces a very smooth and enigmatic composition. Interestingly, its creator Robert Gonnon is also responsible for two other classics, Metal and Calandre for Paco Rabanne. Somewhat powdery, yes, but there is a very subtle leaf greenness and animalic edge that is common to his compositions which prevents them from getting old. The dry down after several hours is divine. Lovers of Chanel 19, Ma Griffe, Mitsouko, will almost certainly relish this beauty. Sheer class.
Barbara Herman says it all: “From juicy to lush floral to dry leather/moss. Use of Thujone which resembles Artemesia. Green, lush Gardenia. Spicy, mossy, amber, animalic dry down.”
So much is going on all at once in this unusual bright, lushly green floral that
it’s hard to pinpoint the various notes, none of which were available. There is a slightly edgy herbal quality to the green that might be basil or tarragon.
That said, it strikes me as being perfectly competent without being in any way special, such as Jacomo SILENCES is. It also quickly fades which works against it.
I've really enjoyed Sikkim. On me, it's an animalic floral that was clearly influenced by Joy. While I understand that this smelled kind of cheap decades ago (it lacks Joy's expensive-smelling realistic flowers), we're now at a point where only expensive classics and pricy, classically influenced perfumes like the old Amouages dare to smell like this, so you'd be forgiven for assuming that this was something fancier than an old Lancome.
It kicked off with a burst of nose-tickling powder over a fairly standard white floral mix, but with the spotlight put on the interplay between the rose and the waxy ylang. This played out over a creamy, lightly sweaty civet musk, which welled up quickly, adding richness to the topnotes in a way usually reserved for more expensively-concentrated perfumes, so big points to Sikkim for this.
After a couple of hours, the loud powder burned off, leaving my favorite part, the exposed florals playing against the musks while a chypre base crept in underneath. My one technical nitpick with Sikkim, if forced to make one, is that the powder was so loud that the whole perfume was a bit too strong (in an 80's style) while it was there, and then too weak once it burned off, but that's a very small complaint about a very good perfume.
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Sikkim reminds me of the expression, “to fly off the handle.” Sikkim’s escalation is so quick that it doesn’t even seem like progression, just the flip from something calm to something disturbed. The first sniff sends you reeling. Sikkim is fast, rough and, I don’t know---I guess abundant. It’s just everything at once. It’s a heavy, raspy green chypre, but, although light on amber sweetness, it’s also a big spicy oriental with an almost medicinal vibe. It’s a great, fun ride, and in the end it’s an animalic green chypre with a dusting of spiced sweetness. Built from so many drydown materials, this scent has remarkable endurance, but (blessedly) that quality lovely of many stark chypres---it becomes a skin/body scent in the drydown.
I found these notes on the internet:
"ylang-ylang, jasmine, galbanum, oakmoss, leather, patchouli".
It seems there is an original version from the 70's and a modern (re)release. No idea what I am sampling as it a mini edt (I'm guessing it's oldish). It opens in a dry lemony (maybe petitgrain) swirl. And then there is a fresh greeness. In the mid notes there is the faint suggestion of toast (?) or I am possibly crazy. In the EDT there are no basenotes to speak of. A faint suggestion of the dry green and white floral notes remain.
I remember a sample from the 1970s - I didn't like it: it strongly reminded me of cough-medicine. Syrupy, cloying sweetness to cover something bitter and nasty. But perhaps it has been modified in the meantime?
Thumbs wayyyyy up! Relaunched as an EDP in 2005 as part of the Lancome La Collection series, this is one serious chypre! Oriental in feeling with a melange of musks and spices, leather and greens. Not for the faint of heart. A somewhat animalic edge pervades this 1970's classic.